10 Things No One Tells You About Sorority Recruitment
Throughout my three and a half years in college, I have been a part of an on-campus sorority.
Although sorority recruitment can look extremely different from school to school, the semester that I went through recruitment was completely unprecedented.
In the spring of 2021, I went through recruitment in a 100% virtual format.
This style of recruitment caused all potential new members (PNMs) to rely on the Internet, friends, family members, and any resource possible to guide them through the process of sorority recruitment weekend because the traditional support system, like roommates, friends, or upperclassmen, were not physically there to provide advice.
Now that most schools have transitioned back to an in-person style of recruitment, many individuals looking to go through the process are still looking for advice on how to maximize their experience of sorority recruitment.
Regardless of the advice you may receive on what to wear, what to talk about, what to put in your recruitment bag, or how to get a bid from your “top-ranked sorority”, there always seems to be pieces of information missing that can truly make the difference in a potential new member’s experience of going through recruitment.
This advice can be summarized into ten key statements that can prove to be transformational.
Here are 10 things that no one tells you about going through sorority recruitment:
1. Sorority recruitment is a mutual selection process.
Many participants go into sorority recruitment thinking that they must attempt to try and impress each sorority in order to get a bid. While this is in concept true, sorority recruitment is a two-way street in which the sorority must choose the participant and the participant must choose the sorority.
Throughout the recruitment process, potential new members are sharing information about themselves in order for each sorority to learn more about them.
However, many participants do not take into consideration that they too are learning about each sororities’ values, culture, philanthropies, and members to determine if they could see themselves being a part of the organization.
Even subconsciously, recruitment participants make evaluations and judgments on which sororities they are drawn toward more and which they do not see themselves in.
In most cases, after the first round of recruitment is over, potential new members are asked to rank their favorite to least favorite sororities and have the ability to drop multiple sororities that they no longer want to visit during the next rounds.
Most participants do not consider that sororities also put in a careful amount of time and effort to extend an invitation back to the participants that they had good conversations with in the first round and beyond.
All of this is to say that sorority recruitment should be treated like going on first dates with 5-15 different people; some you may like or relate to more than others and want to spend more time with, and at the same time the other party is making their own conclusions about you to evaluate if they could see themselves spending more time with you as well.
Approach sorority recruitment with this mindset and you will naturally end up in the best place suited for you.
2. Emotions become heightened during recruitment.
It may seem obvious that emotions tend to intensify during sorority recruitment. However, many participants lose sight of this fact in the midst of recruitment weekend and allow their emotions to get the best of them in conversations with sororities and friends going through recruitment.
A participant going through sorority recruitment for the right reasons is in it to enjoy the ride and find meaningful and true connections by the end of it. Despite one’s good intentions, recruitment can bring out emotions of nervousness, anxiety, excitement, sadness, disappointment, and even relief.
Oftentimes in later rounds, participants may end up sharing personal stories with sorority recruiters that evoke a tremendous amount of emotion. It is important to try and control your emotions, yet still allow yourself to be vulnerable to the process of sharing who you are to sororities.
In understanding that your emotions will most likely be heightened during the recruitment process, it is vital to develop ways to manage them to create the most seamless experience.
3. First impressions matter in sorority recruitment.
Many people think that a first impression does not matter in sorority recruitment, and it is actually the deeper conversations you have that allow you to find where you belong.
While this is certainly true in respect to the entire process, what is not talked about enough is the fact that you cannot get to those deeper conversations unless you make it through the first initial rounds.
For most schools, sorority recruitment consists of three rounds: Sisterhood Round, Philanthropy Round, and Preference Round. Sisterhood Round is usually the shortest amount of time a potential new member and sorority recruiter get to talk and typically spans from 20-30 minutes long.
This round is crucial for making a good first impression so that the sorority can classify your conversation as memorable and invite you back to later rounds. Most times, these conversations are brief and consist of “getting to know you” questions that are introductory.
While this may seem surface-level and not meaningful, this is one of the greatest opportunities you have to show off your personality. While sororities are ultimately trying to get to a much more profound level with participants in the later rounds, it is essential that they have a good and memorable conversation in the earlier rounds that can allow the relationship to develop further throughout the process.
Additionally, if you get invited back to later rounds at a particular sorority, you will most likely talk to the same people or those with similar interests.
Making a lasting first impression can be advantageous in having an experience that is rewarding by the end of the process.
4. Stereotypes within sorority recruitment can be misleading.
Almost every school that has sororities or Greek life on campus has some sort of hierarchy or prior opinions that potential new members hear about before going through recruitment. These opinions can be both positive and negative, but it is important to recognize that they may not be entirely true.
These stereotypes might be hard to ignore before going through recruitment, but it is important to make a conscious effort to go into the recruitment process with an open mind and give every sorority an equal chance.
Many potential new members take these stereotypes and opinions into consideration before going through the recruitment process and end up creating a tiered list of what sorority they want to be in before talking to girls in each house.
In doing this, you are greatly limiting your chances of letting the recruitment process work itself out, as these preconceived ideas act as the only guidance that potential new members use to make decisions early on in rounds.
While some stereotypes might be true, every participant’s recruitment experience will be totally different. Given this, it is important to see past these opinions until you can truly verify them after talking to that sorority’s members during recruitment.
Ultimately, these stereotypes are often misleading and put certain sororities out of a potential new members’ mind before they given them a fighting chance and opportunity to impress them.
5. Sororities are not one-size-fits-all.
Most potential new members go through sorority recruitment as a freshman or a sophomore. Especially early on, friendships are still being formed and life in college is not yet fully developed.
Despite this, participants going through recruitment will rely heavily on the opinions of their friends who are also going through recruitment to make their decisions and follow a group mentality throughout the process. Many participants may choose which sorority they want to be in entirely based on what their friends want.
However, what works for one person may not work for another. The recruitment experience is supposed to be an individualized process where participants make objective decisions that are entirely unique to them.
The ideal sorority for you might be different from your friends’ choices, which is perfectly fine. Many participants do not entirely realize that a sorority is a four year commitment, which should not be taken lightly.
Choose the sorority that makes you feel the most comfortable, welcomed, and aligns the best with your values.
Even if you go against the grain and select differently from every one of your friends, know that you have made a meaningful choice that will be worth it in the long run.
6. The process of going through sorority recruitment has its flaws.
Sorority recruitment is a human process, and mistakes can happen. While the process is incredibly organized with a tremendous amount of time put into it, mistakes are inevitable.
These mistakes might fall on the sorority recruiters, potential new members, or admins/organizers of the recruitment process. Recruitment is an emotional process with rushed decision making due to time constraints, so it is important to be aware of the mistakes that could happen and be mindful towards them.
There may be misunderstandings or miscommunications. If a potential new member encounters challenges, you should communicate openly with recruitment organizers and feel comfortable doing so because it is their job to help with any part of the process.
7. Friendships outside of sororities matter.
Many potential new members go through the recruitment process to make friends and find their group in college. While joining a sorority can provide a wonderful social network, it’s essential to maintain connections with friends outside of Greek life.
Joining a sorority will introduce members to others who have similar perspectives and values. However, spending time around the same core group of people may cause one to get burnt out or fall into a group-think mindset.
Developing friendships outside of one’s sorority is crucial to having social flexibility, reduced dependence on one group, and allow one to grow through new experiences and perspectives.
Balance is key to a fulfilling college experience, and it is important to explore friendships both in and outside of the sorority you may be in.
8. Rejection is not a reflection of you in sorority recruitment.
The ultimate goal of going through sorority recruitment is obviously to receive a bid from the sorority you would like to join. However, the recruitment process is flawed and may not always go the way a participant might have hoped for.
After the final round, Preference Round, participants will rank their top two sororities left and sororities will prepare to extend bids of membership to a select group. If you don’t receive a bid from a particular sorority, remember that it’s not a rejection of you as an individual.
A participant may have great conversations and develop a good connection with members of certain sororities. If the participant senses that the feeling is mutual, this would more than likely indicate that they will receive a bid.
However, sororities have limited spots and the decision-making process is complex. Depending on the size of the organization and school, sororities will only be able to extend bids to a specific number of participants.
Nonetheless, participants should still focus on finding the group where you genuinely connect and let the process work itself out when it comes to getting offered a bid.
9. Post-recruitment involvement is just as important as recruitment commitment.
Your involvement in a sorority doesn’t end with bid day. It’s essential to actively participate in events, engage with sisters, and contribute to the sorority’s community to get the most out of your experience.
While it is perfectly normal and encouraged (sometimes required) to be involved in other organizations outside of the sorority, maintaining a level of commitment to your sorority is important.
10. The financial commitment of a sorority should be seriously considered before joining.
Joining a sorority often involves financial commitments beyond the membership fee, such as dues for events, apparel, and other activities. These expenses are often more costly than one may believe and have the ability to add up exponentially over time.
It is vital to consider the financial aspect of joining a sorority and ensure it aligns with your budget and expectations. During recruitment weekend, sororities will provide you with information about recurring semester dues, but may not indicate any hidden fees involved.
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